Baylor Regents Approve Pro Futuris, New Strategic Vision To Guide University Progress in Coming Decade

Pro Futuris
May 11, 2012

Board also approves operating budget for 2012-2013, elects new board members and officers, adds faculty and student body members to board

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Contact: Lori Fogleman, (254) 710-6275

WACO, Texas (May 11, 2012) - After nearly two years of planning that included the active participation of faculty, students, staff, alumni and a community of friends throughout the nation, Baylor University Regents today unanimously approved a new strategic vision named Pro Futuris that will guide the University's path over the next decade. The vision will go into effect on June 1, 2012.

The result of an open and participatory planning process led by Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Davis, Pro Futuris follows on the heels of Baylor 2012, which ushered in a decade of unprecedented growth and development at Baylor impacting every area of University life. As approved today by Baylor Regents, the new strategic vision builds upon that remarkable progress, connecting Pro Futuris - "for our future" - with the University's foundational motto - Pro Ecclesia ("for Church"), Pro Texana ("for Texas" and for the world).

"As we stand at the threshold of a new period in Baylor's storied history, we understand the deeply significant work to which we have been called. We must impact the world from Baylor's strong position at the crossroads of academic excellence and Christian faith," said Baylor President Ken Starr. "This strategic vision is rooted in what we at Baylor have always considered non-negotiable - educational excellence, the pursuit of new knowledge, a caring community with a profound commitment to service and an active Christian faith. With the launch of our new vision, we have made clear that these characteristics will continue to define us for the duration of Pro Futuris - and 'for all ages to come.' I commend Baylor Regents, Provost Davis, the Executive Council and all of Baylor Nation for the valuable contribution of our new vision."

Pro Futuris includes five aspirational statements that define the University's principal direction. As developed in partnership with the entire University family, Baylor will be a community recognized for:

• Transformational Education - where academic excellence and life-changing experiences ignite leadership potential that increases Baylor students' desire for wisdom, understanding of calling and preparation for service in a diverse and interconnected global society;

• Compelling Scholarship - where research discoveries illuminate solutions to significant challenges confronting the world and where creative endeavors reflect the breadth of God's creation;

• Informed Engagement - where Christian faith, in conjunction with Baylor's expertise and resources, inspires a desire to address systemic problems facing the community, both local and global, and renews a dedication to improvement of self and service to others;

• Committed Constituents - where the dedication of alumni and friends advances Baylor through sustained involvement and philanthropy;

• Judicious Stewardship - where the value generated by and derived from a Baylor experience is supported through a diversity of revenues, prudent management of resources and the pursuit of outstanding quality and character in every area of University life.

Within these aspirational statements are areas of specification that codify broader themes and acts of determination, which reflect the aspiration and through a variety of original ideas will become operational plans. Davis noted that this structure enables contributions to the vision and to University progress from all members of the Baylor community. Some projects and initiatives already under way are noted to demonstrate the bridge connecting Baylor 2012 and Pro Futuris.

"It has been my honor and privilege to help guide and shepherd the development of Pro Futuris, which reflects the very best thinking of so many who love Baylor and wish to see our University prosper, both now and in the future," Davis said. "I'm grateful for the active collaboration of the Board during the entire visioning process, for the many dedicated faculty and staff on our campus who developed thoughtful recommendations, and to alumni and friends both locally and nationally who spent hours engaged in serious conversation about the development of our future vision.

"We hold firm to the conviction that the world needs a preeminent research University that is unambiguously Christian; where such a commitment does not imply a lack of scholarly inquiry, but rather requires scholarship and creative endeavors at the highest levels of quality to complement and inform its teaching and service," Davis said. "Pro Futuris serves as a compass for our future, a guide that clearly points us toward our destination while inviting creativity in determining the paths by which we will arrive. As we launch Pro Futuris, we are thankful for all that our University has been, and look forward to the promise of Baylor's next decade of progress."

"Anyone connected with Baylor University has been aware of our extraordinary positive momentum over the last 10 years, and the Board has long acknowledged our responsibility to continue to move Baylor forward into the next decade," said Ronald D. Murff, BBA '75, chair of the Regent committee appointed by the board to work with University administration in the development of the new plan. "For the past two years, I have been privileged to work alongside Provost Davis and the Executive Council as we considered all the very good input that has informed our new vision. Baylor Regents join the rest of the Baylor family in celebrating the launch of this inspirational vision for our future."

Board approves budget

In other business, Baylor Regents approved a $444.3 million operating budget that reflects an increase of $15.8 million or 3.7 percent over the original 2011-2012 budget adopted by Baylor Regents last year. It includes an increase of $19.6 million to support merit and need-based scholarships, graduate assistantships and scholarships for graduate and professional students.

Personnel costs will increase by $12.7 million or 4.8 percent, which will support approximately eight new full-time faculty positions, 45 replacement faculty positions and 22 new staff positions. The budget also supports merit raises for faculty and staff, more competitive stipends for graduate assistants and increased funding for student workers. The budget takes effect June 1.

"Through God's abundant grace and the continued prudent stewardship of our resources, Baylor continues to thrive today, as it will in the future," said Buddy Jones, BA '73, JD '75, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. "As we enroll students of high academic quality, we also are focused on helping ensure educational access to families with need. Because of careful management of the resources that have been entrusted to us, our budget provides more merit and need-based scholarship aid to help students realize the dream of a Baylor education. As we enter a new decade of progress at Baylor, we remain committed to attracting and retaining the highest quality faculty and staff, providing more work-study opportunities for our undergraduates and increasing the academic caliber of our graduate students by enhancing stipends for graduate assistantships."

New board members elected

The Board also elected one new Regent and welcomed three new Regents appointed in November by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The new Board members who will begin their terms on June 1 are:

• Joel T. Allison, BA '70 , of Dallas, president and chief executive officer of Baylor Health Care System, elected by the BGCT

• Judge Jennifer W. Elrod, BS '88, of Houston, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, elected by the BGCT

• James Cary Gray, BA '79, BACC '80, JD '83, of Houston, attorney, president and managing director of Looper Reed and McGraw P.C., elected by the Board

• Dr. Kenneth L. Hall of Longview, retired president and CEO of Buckner International, elected by the BGCT

The Board re-elected current Regent Gary Elliston of Dallas to a third three-year term.

Regents also voted to appoint a member of the faculty and student body to a one-year term as non-voting members of the Board. As the new fiscal year begins shortly, Regents have invited to serve in these roles in the coming year the new Chair of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Todd Still, and the new Student Body President, Kelly Rapp.

"Our new Regents are faithful servant leaders who bring a range of perspective and expertise to our Board," Jones said. "They are passionate supporters of the University and its Christian mission. We are honored to welcome them to the Board and know they will serve Baylor wisely and well."

Elected to serve as Board officers were Richard S Willis of Colleyville, Texas, as chair, and Robert E. Beauchamp of Houston, who was re-elected as vice-chair. The officers will begin their service on June 1.

The Board also expressed its appreciation to Regents who have completed their terms: Bobby C. Dagnel of Lubbock and Dr. John C. Reimers of Beaumont.

About Baylor University

Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.

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